Greener city pledged for 2004

The capital’s sprawling expanse of concrete will be punctuated with a few more spots of vegetation by 2004, the government promised yesterday, saying it will plant up to 100 million new trees, bushes and assorted plants for the Olympics. Environment, Town Planning and Public Works Minister Costas Laliotis signed a memorandum of cooperation with the Athens 2004 organizing committee according to which 4,000 acres will be planted with greenery. Athens has a paltry 2.5 square meters of greenery per inhabitant. The Athens area accounts for almost half the country’s industrial production. Around two million cars circulate in the city every day – largely as a result of government incentives for Greeks to buy new vehicles. Laliotis said the 124-billion-drachma, EU funded project will involve upgrading existing parks and green areas while some 3.3 million trees, 14.4 million bushes, 16 million flowering plants and 67.5 million other plants will be planted. Some 120 kilometers of the city’s main roads will be planted too. The doctor said most of the Afghan children he has recently examined were malnourished and exhausted.

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